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 Revival or Reformatiom by Chip Brogden

There have always been some who not only recognize the glaring deficiencies of what the church is, but are grieved and troubled by what they see, to the point that they cannot remain content to let things continue on, but are compelled to do something about it.

Of these blessed few who choose to stand up and speak out against the religious system, the response seems to fall along one of three approaches. As we will see, only one approach is harmonious with the prophetic example set forth in the history of the people of God, and it is the one approach that seems to be the last resort instead of the first recourse. But let us consider them in the proper order.

First, there are those who call for what amounts to Reformation. These are the Martin Luthers who standup to the religious leadership and rightly confront their unscriptural practices. The well-meaning intention is to fix what is wrong with the church by identifying all of its problems and coming up with Scriptural solutions. But this represents a zealous naivety on the part of all would-be reformers. First, it assumes that once the leaders recognize their unscriptural practices, they will repent and change their ways. History has proven that this never happens.

Second, it assumes that the church system is something God wants to reform, when the truth is that the church system was made by man and was never authorized by God in the first place. Reforming it has the same effect as patching an old garment with new cloth, or pouring new wine into old wineskins, which results in ruining both the old and the new.

These attempts at reformation, if they are not quashed altogether, typically result in the establishment of something very similar to compete with what was already there. When the Catholic church rejected Luther, he founded another religious system based upon his understanding of Scriptural truth. To be sure it was an improvement over the Catholic system; but it was still a religious system nevertheless. From the Protestant Reformation many thousands of denominations have sprung, each more or less based upon their own interpretation of Scripture and upon the founding principles of the Roman Catholic church embedded in their history. The end result is that we are even further away from the simplicity of Christ with each attempt to repair what God never called us to build in the first place.

Second, there are those who espouse Revival as the cure to everything that ails Churchianity. The church is sleeping, and needs to be roused from sleep (so the thinking goes). The revivals of generations past, and the preachers who seemed to be instrumental in stirring up these revivals, are idealized and venerated as great heroes of the faith; the kind of people we need to be (or find) in order to experience the same kind of revival and awakening that they experienced. The Revivalist is similar to the Reformer in that both types of people hope to repair what is wrong with the church, hoping to spark a movement or a move of God that will shake the church out of complacency and restore something of the power that the early Christians had. But the Revivalist lays emphasis more on the spiritual experience than Scriptural integrity. This naturally creates a certain hankering after signs, wonders, miracles, and visible manifestations of the “power” of God as evidences and proofs that God is moving or doing something to revive and restore to what used to be.

Again, the clear witness of Scripture and the prophetic record of God’s dealings with His people rises up to contradict the Revivalist in his enthusiastic naivety. Yes, it is true that revivals and spiritual awakenings have occurred and will continue to occur. One of the greatest revivals of the 20th Century was the charismatic movement, which formed the background of my own spiritual awakening. Even so, however much individual people may have benefited from these revivals and spiritual movements, none of these things have resulted in any fundamental change to Churchianity itself. The religious system continues on, and the deception and abuse it dispenses in the name of God gets worse with every generation.

God will not continue to pour out His Spirit or send any kind of revival to people who still remain in a religious system that God has judged and called us to come out of. Any real pouring out of God’s Spirit must result in a people being called out; God is not the author of something that requires people to go back to Babylon in order to benefit from it themselves, or to bring Life to it. On the contrary, the very idea of “revival” is frequently used by Churchianity in a desperate attempt to breathe new life into something that is clearly dead. It is dead because it is under the judgment of God. He has not called us to bring it back to life again; on the contrary, His judgment says, “Follow Me, and let the dead bury their dead” (Mt.8:22).

While God has certainly been patient with His people and has even blessed efforts to reform or revive, it has always been with an understanding that He was calling those who had been reformed and revived to come out and be obedient to Him. The prophetic declaration is to “come out of [Babylon], My people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues” (Rev. 18:4).

God’s ultimate intention is neither Reformation nor Revival, but Repudiation! Repudiation is a strong word. It means, “to reject the authority or validity of; to disown or cast off.” But this is precisely what followers of Jesus have had to do from the very beginning. To the elders and high priests of Judaism, the apostles stated simply, “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). Later, when the Christian Church took on the same religious spirit as the Jewish Sanhedrin, other men and women followed in the same tradition of the apostles and repudiated the authority of the religious establishment in order to maintain the Testimony of Jesus. They were neither Reformers nor Revivalists; they simply repudiated the religious system altogether.

There is a wonderful reformation happening right now – not within the religious system, but within the hearts and minds of people who are repudiating that system. There is a tremendous revival taking place right now, and it is a revival along spiritual lines, among those who have heeded the call to “come out of Babylon” and have been raised to new Life. God is revealing Christ to people, and people are learning how to enter into Him and how to live in Him, and how to walk in Him. They are leaving the complexities of Religion for the simplicity of Relationship. This is a quiet reformation, a quiet revival, a grass-roots movement that is governed by the Holy Spirit.

Posted by Bro Blaine

 2017/7/30 10:53

Joined: 2006/9/16
Posts: 2127

 Re: Revival or Reformatiom by Chip Brogden

We are studying the atonement in men's class at the church and it really is beginning to make a difference for us. We are beginning to consider and discuss how much losing sight of the cross may be the most glaring defect in the contemporary church. The cross is supposed to be the only source of our strength and wisdom and identity in Christ but for many reasons we lose sight of the cross. How much true reformation and revival and repudiation will come if we again make the cross the singular focus of our attention and gaze? This completely sufficient perfectly perfect never to be repeated once for all sacrifice is the source of God's total provision for us and everything we need to overcome as believers. It doesn't need to be changed or modified or improved upon. Systems and methods always take second place to the life of Christ released at the cross. That in my opinion is where the church needs to go and what it needs to be about - laboring together to put the cross back at the center of the church's life and vision. Dust off the manual God gave you and look at and study again the cross and its total provision. And thank you Blaine for sharing what you did. The men in class here feel like we are dusting off a supremely valuable spiritual diamond we have somehow grown used to not rejecting outright but nonetheless have neglected and let slip. The individual Christian life and therefore the life of the church is always rooted in the total provision of the cross.

"For I determined to know nothing among you except Christ and Him crucified." (I Cor 2:2)

David Winter

 2017/7/30 12:03Profile


I came across this article by chip Brogden several months ago and posted it on the board. It might be good to look at this article again for thoughtful consideration in view of the upcoming revival conference.


 2018/4/30 8:11

 Re: New Wine into Old Wine Skins

Luke 5:36-39

He also told them a parable: "No one tears a patch from a new garment and puts it on an old garment. Otherwise, not only will he tear the new, but also the piece from the new garment will not match the old.  And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins, it will spill, and the skins will be ruined. No, new wine is put into fresh wineskins.  And no one, after drinking old wine, wants new, because he says, 'The old is better.'"

Is this not what we are doing? When we speak of revival (whatever that is) are we not trying to pour the new wine of the Holy Spirit into old denominational structures?  Are we not trying to preserve the religious structure?

If we truly be honest with ourselves this is exactly what we are doing. When we cry out for so-called revival. We are actually asking God to preserve the status quo. We are actually wanting God to preserve our denominational structures. There is no heart cry for the Lord Jesus Christ to come and dwell in our hearts. There is certainly no heart cry to go out to him and to apprehend him on the cross.

We are asking for God to preserve the religious system. We are wanting God to revive a religious system that never was alive to begin with . That is what revival is . To revive is to bring life . But the organized church has never been anything  but alive 

Just a casual reading of the scriptures and church history will show that reviving denominational structures has never been effective. Luther started out with the intention of wanting to revive or reform the Catholic Church. We know where that went. Even when those came out of the church system gathered around the doctrines of Luther. A new movement was born calked Lutheranism. Then we had Calvinism. Then we had the state church. Which really was no different than the Catholic Church. Be it, Catholic or Protestant, it was a state church hybrid.

Those few remnants saints who did hear the call of God and come out of the state church and gather around Jesus were persecuted. Often the persecution was done by the Catholics and the Protestants. I refer to the Anabaptists. Out of the Reformation, this movement best captured what we call first century Christianity. But even today that movement has grown into religion.

What Jesus teaches in the above verses is that new wine cannot be poured into denominational structures or a religious structure. You cannot have revival in the traditional church. The traditional church will not allow for the moving of the Holy Spirit.

I saw an example of this when I was in a series of meetings with David Ravenhill, the son of Leonard Ravenhill. David had just taken us into the presence of God through his messages. We were in the midst of worshiping the Lord and it seem that the Holy Spirit was getting ready to come down upon us. One brother started worshipping the Lord Jesus in the Spirit. Just as it seems that the Holy Spirit was ready to come down into our midst. The worship leader freaked out.  Ran up grabbed the microphone, and sang a contemporary worship song. Just as quickly as he was ready to come, the Spirit departed.  The few of us who of us who were im the Spirit were deeply saddened. I wonder how Jesus felt being kicked out of his church?

This is one example. Organized worship will not accommodate the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit will not come into denominational or religious structures.

What God is after is the human heart. The Lord wants a relationship with a heart that's yielded to him. He does not want a relationship with a religious structure. It is "relationship" and not "religion".

I have to agree with our brother Chip Brogden. We must repudiate the religious Babylon. We must come out of the system.  We must go outside the camp and bear his disgrace. The disgrace of the cross. But then if we apprehend his cross and live crucified as unto him. He will come to us in a relationship.

In these end times it is relationship with Jesus that is needed. Not so-called revival of a religious system.   The hour is ever urgent. Let us in humility seek him in a deep fervent relationship. Let us not give ourself over to revival extravaganzas to reform a religious system.  A religious system that will never recognize the Holy Spirit for who he is.

Jesus is after the human heart. Not after a dead religious system.  Let the few who hear his call enter into his life through the narrow way of the cross.

My thoughts.

Posted by Blaine Scogin

 2018/5/13 8:11

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